Ready or Not, Here I Come
by Carrie Kosicki
Mary turned over in bed and lightly tapped her husband’s shoulder, “Paul, honey?” Paul turned over with a quiet moan but didn’t open his eyes. Mary shook him more forcefully. “Paul. Wake up, Paul.”
“What is it?” he asked, still not opening his eyes. “What time is it?”
“Sorry to get you up so early. It’s just that, my water just broke.”
Paul opened his eyes and sat straight up. This was the moment they’d waited for. Four days after Mary’s due date. Everything they needed had been packed and neatly piled next to the front door for a month, just in case. Paul scurried out of bed and into the bathroom. “Quick pee, brush my teeth, and we’ll go,” he said as he left the bedroom.
When he got to the bathroom, he did what he assumed nearly ever man had done under this circumstance since the dawn of time, or at least since the dawn of hanging a piece of reflective glass above bathroom sinks. He looked at himself in the mirror and thought, what the fuck am I gonna do now? On some level, he’d known this day would come since he was a teenager. It was just the natural progression of things, but, like ones own inevitable death, one never really believes this moment will come until just about the time the baby crowns. Paul splashed some water on his face, took a couple deep breaths, then went back into the bedroom to retrieve his wife.
“What are you doing?” Paul asks. He’d left the bedroom three minutes ago, but now all the blankets and sheets from the bed were in a pile on the floor. The room smelled like carpet cleaner, which made since since there was now a spray bottle and sponge on the nightstand next to his wife’s side of the bed. Her side of the bed which was now lifted about a foot off the box spring.
“Help me flip the mattress,” his wife panted.
“Hon, I don’t think we have to do that right this second. Come on. Let’s go to the hospital.”
“I just want to get this flipped and get the sheets soaking and then we can go,” she answered back as she just wanted to get a couple things done before heading in to work. When she kept trying to lift the mattress up and over, Paul finally came to her aid.
“Watch out,” he said a little annoyed. As he moved Mary out of the way, he lift the mattress straight onto its side then pulled the side that was resting on the box spring towards him. When gravity finally took over, the mattress flipped wet side down taking the painting hanging over their bed and the lamp on his nightstand with it.
“Oh, now look what you’ve done,” Mary chastised. As she said this, she was suddenly overcome by a contraction. She leaned forward and grabbed hold of the the side of the mattress, breathing heavily.
“What are you doing? You asked me to flip it, so I flipped it. Why are you trying to flip it back?”
Mary didn’t answer, choosing instead to concentrate on her breathing in an effort not to blackout from the pain. Fuck. Is this what this feels like? she wondered. What the fuck am I gonna do now?
Mary looked up at Paul. The only other time he’d seen her look at him that way was almost a year ago when he told her he’d scheduled a poker night with his buddies on the Saturday that happened to be their 3-year wedding anniversary. Paul backed away.
“I want epidural, and I want it right now,” she told him through gritted teeth.
“Well, babe, I can’t give you one,” he explained with a tone meant to indicate that he’d wanted to leave for the hospital ten minutes ago.
When the contraction finally passed, Mary stood up and marched for the front door, grabbing the car keys off the hook as she passed through. Paul hurried behind her, remembering at the last second to pick up her bag. “Babe, I think I should probably drive,” he called after her, but she was already climbing into the driver’s seat.
“Are you coming or not?” she yelled to him as she slammed the door shut.
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” he said, taking his seat on the passenger side. He hadn’t even bothered to put the bag in the trunk for fear that his wife would back the car over him in her hurried quest for something to stop the pain. Mary didn’t even wait for him to put his seatbelt on before she pealed out of the driveway. They were off, neither of them quite sure what they were doing.